ANN BLAKE

"We made an agreement," remembered her husband of a discussion he had with his late wife, Ann. "I promised her she wouldn't die alone." She died in hospice on 12/21/01 in Atlanta with her husband by her side holding her hand as she took her last breath. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer two years earlier and had a mastectomy. She endured chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Her cancer went into remission for about a year during which she even volunteered as a patient assistant working in the chemo rooms for Georgia Cancer Specialists.

Ann spent her life as a caregiver. She dropped out of high school to take care of her mother who had fallen ill. She raised five children and was a proud grandma of ten, including Jack who was born just three months before she died. Many believe she worked had to stay alive to see him born. Ann had also run an in-home day care center for infants. Over twelve years she had cared for some 76 babies including many siblings. The parents were always confident their babies were being well cared for and she new exactly how to calm and assure the moms that everything would be alright.

Ann's dream of retirement from the infant daycare and moving to a lake home only lasted a few months before her cancer was diagnosed. When the cancer returned in her bones she learned after more chemotherapy, hospice care was the alternative which would allow her to spend her last months with dignity and quality at home or in the home-like setting of the Peachtree Christian Hospice. Her husband recalled "they provided her with a total approach to dying" and "that made Ann feel at peace. It was comforting to her that she new how she was going to die with dignity and on her own terms." Her death certificate recorded the cause of death as "metastatic breast cancer & bone involvement."

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